The preparation of audits has been an issue Loris city government has been dealing with for years.
It is a problem the city has been trying to fix on its own. Correcting the audit problems was something former interim City Administrator Dennis Drozdak vowed he would accomplish when he was hired in August 2019.
However, when he left that position at the end of June, the city’s audits were still behind.
Now, Loris City Council has set aside money in the budget to hire an outside firm to help interim City Administrator Brandon Harrelson bring the audits up-to-date.
During a special council meeting last week, it was agreed to hire Newell Richardson & Co. of Johnsonville to help with the job.
The last full audit the city has sent to the state was in 2016. Because of that, the state has been withholding $60,000 per year that would normally be allocated to the city to help provide needed services.
Council has allocated $60,000 for the firm to do the job of gathering all the needed documentation and doing the work needed to get everything ready for the new audit.
Another $30,000 will be paid to the firm to prepare the actual audit.
Mayor Todd Harrelson says Monica Richardson of the firm will be the person doing the job. He said her specialty is working with smaller municipalities.
When the 2016 audit was presented to council last year, the accounting firm of Mauldin and Jenkins said they could not verify the authenticity of the findings because of most of the documents they needed had been shredded.
“Due to the destruction of accounting records and turnover in financial management personnel, we were unable to obtain accounting records which support the balance included in the financial statements as of, and for, the 18-month period that ended June 30, 2016,” a narrative in the 2016 audit states.
The missing documents the auditors needed to do a proper accounting of the city’s finances include cash, receivables, revenue, accrued liabilities, inventory, prepaid items, capital assets, long-term debt, expenses/expenditures and interfund balances.
Mayor Harrelson said this new auditing firm is expected to have all the documentation -- with the help of city staff -- to bring the city’s books up to date.
No timetable was given for when the work will be complete.